I don't know if you've noticed, but most of the movies have similar themes: bad or down-and-out person has some moment of great conflict and the solution comes in the form of "Christmas spirit." Whereas some of the movies have scenes you could use as sermon illustrations, few have any particular spiritual merit. Yet, we go ahead and watch them andgiggle our way through some very clever antics.
Christmas with the Kranks was the first movie we watched this week. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we had already read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. The movie and the book are both delightful, but for different reasons. Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen star in the movie and play their parts well. Ms. Curtis is hilarious, Christmas-loving wife and mother whose husband convinces her that skipping Christmas for just this one year would be a great idea. Remembering her performances in various horror movies makes certain parts of this film kind of "vaudevillian." Tim Allen is pretty predictable (starts out as a jerk and ends up lovable); his scene with the Botox is laugh out loud funny.
Our second Christmas movie this week was one of our family favorites: The Muppets Christmas Carol. Michael Caine plays along with Kermit, Fozzy Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat and the rest of the Muppets. Mr. Caine plays a marvelous Scrooge opposite a cast of puppets. He even sings! One of my favorite lines is Gonzo (the narrator) explains that "omniscient" means all-knowing. Rizzo then calls him "Mr. Hoity-Toity God-like Smarty Pants."
Though the story itself has some darker portions, it is by far the happiest version of the this classic that we've seen. This is definitely a movie to buy and keep on your shelf.
On Christmas Eve, after a fun meal, present opening and a game we snuggled one more time in the den to watch another version of Dickens's A Christmas Carol.One of my favorite scenes comes after Scrooge has spent time with all three ghosts. Patrick Stewart, a bona fide new man, arises to a new day... and has his first laugh in a long time:
"I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!" Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. "The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh, Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this! I say it on my knees, old Jacob, on my knees!"
He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet with tears. ...
"I don't know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!"
He had frisked into the sitting-room, and was now standing there: perfectly winded.
"There's the saucepan that the gruel was in!' cried Scrooge, starting off again, and going round the fireplace. "There's the door, by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered! There's the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present sat! There's the window where I saw the wandering Spirits! It's all right, it's all true, it all happened. Ha ha ha!"
Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!